Near the end of 2010, Rick Warren announced that Saddleback Church would be entering “a Decade of Destiny.” He told his congregation that they would be focusing on several key areas, one of them being “health and wellness.” The “Daniel Challenge” or the “Daniel Plan” is Saddleback’s new health “initiative.” On Saddleback’s website, it states:
Gods’ Prescription For Your Health
Be a part of this transformational debut to be a healthier you!
The kick-off event is next weekend, January 15. We’ll hear from world-renowned doctors on a plan to get healthy and stay that way in the new decade.
Who are the “world-renowned doctors” that will be helping to kick off Saddleback’s Decade of Destiny? Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. The video on the website states that this program has been “Exclusively Designed for Saddleback Church by Three of the Leading Health Specialists in America.”
Let us get right to the point: The three doctors who have put together a 52-week health program for Saddleback congregants are absolute advocates and proponents of not just eastern-style meditation but actual eastern meditation and much much more as this article will reveal. Right off, let us say that if you are thinking perhaps that these doctors will only advise Saddleback on legitimate health advice (exercise, healthy eating, etc.) take a look at this video (taken place at Saddleback) between Rick Warren and Dr. Daniel Amen. Amen intends to help Saddleback participants to have good “brain health,” which he firmly believes comes from meditation. In this video, he openly discusses meditation with Rick Warren.
What are the spiritual underpinnings of the meditation these three doctors are propagating? This report will lay it out for you.
Dr. Amen, founder of Amen Clinics, is the author of over 25 books. He teaches techniques that will improve “brain health,” claiming that poor brain health is associated with a host of problems from overeating to depression. As Dr. Amen describes in the video you just saw, he includes meditation (and in fact this is his primary tool) as a way to have a healthy brain.
It is the nature of this meditation that sets Dr. Amen apart from any other individual that Lighthouse Trails has ever written about concerning Rick Warren. In a 6-CD set called Create a More Passionate Night, Dr. Amen has teamed up with advanced certified Tantra educator, T. J. Bartel. It is important that you visit Bartel’s website to better understand the nature of what he stands for. By the way, when you hear Bartel say “Namaste,” this means the god in me bows down to the god in you. We have discussed tantric sex in a number of Lighthouse Trails articles in the past, such as one called “What’s Sex Got to Do with It?” Please refer to this article if you are unfamiliar with this spiritual practice. In essence, Tantra or tantric sex is the use of Hinduistic-type mysticism during sexual intercourse. Please listen to what Ray Yungen has to say about Tantra and the serious implications of it:
Tantra is the name of the ancient Hindu sacred texts that contain certain rituals and secrets. Some deal with taking the energies brought forth in meditation through the chakras and combining them with love-making to enhance sexual experiences.
Once completely off-limits to the masses of humanity, Tantra, like all other New Age methodologies, is now starting to gain increasing popularity. . . . The potential to impact a very great number of people, especially men, was brought out in an article by a sex worker who incorporates “Tantric Bodywork” into her services. . . . she has turned to Tantric Union to give her clients what she feels is not just sex but “union with the divine.” . . . Now the “multitudes of men” who come to her get much more than they bargained for. In the past, wives and girlfriends needed only to worry about sexually transmitted diseases from cheating husbands and boyfriends, but now their men may instead bring home spiritual entities! (For Many Shall Come in My Name, Yungen, pp. 115-116)
We are sorry to be so frank – but we must – we are dealing with Rick Warren, “America’s Pastor” and one of the most, perhaps the most, influential evangelical leaders today. And in just a few days, he will be starting a 52-week health program that has been designed by Dr. Amen, a tantric sex activist! Dr. Amen expresses his strong feelings about tantric in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body:
In my book, The Brain in Love, I wrote about Tantric sexual practices, and was fascinated by the concept . . . I wanted to experience it for myself and thought it would be a wonderful way to enhance my relationship with my wife, Tana. . . . T.J. Bartel . . . became our teacher . . . I felt as if I had to share his knowledge with everyone I knew.” (p. 283)
Everyone he knows? Will that include Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, and even overflow to thousands of Purpose Driven churches? That could potentially be millions of people. On the video interview with Rick Warren and Dr. Amen, Warren states that Dr. Amen’s resources would be available for those attending the seminar this coming weekend. In almost all of the ”resources” by Dr. Amen, he advocates eastern meditation. In some of the books, he devotes many many pages to meditation practices. On page 238 of Amen’s Making a Good Brain Great, he states: “I recommend an active form of yoga meditation called Kriya Kirtan. It is based on the five primal sounds saa, taa, naa, maa, aa.” He tells readers to repeat these sounds for 12 minutes straight.
Many of you have heard of New Age leader Eckhart Tolle, whose 2008 book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose was highly popularized by Oprah. Tolle stated that the book’s purpose was to bring about a “shift in consciousness” (pp. 6-7). In his earlier book, The Power of Now, he speaks of this ”consciousness,” what he considers a christ-consciousness:
Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence. (p. 104)
For more on Eckhart Tolle and the great awakening that New Agers seek after for the planet, read Warren B. Smith’s 4-part article, “The Great Heretical Idea: Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift.” Dr. Daniel Amen talks about Tolle’s The Power of Now in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, calling Tolle’s book ”extraordinary.”
Dr. Amen’s meditation technique of choice is Kriya Kirtan, as we stated above. This is a form of kundalini yoga (see his book,The Brain in Love, p. 146). Those who have studied with discernment the New Age, know that kundalini (or serpent power) is the spiritual “energy” behind meditation. Ray Yungen explains the relationship between kundalini and the chakras:
The chakras act as conduits or conductors for what is called kundalini or serpent energy. They say this force lies coiled but dormant at the base of the spine like a snake. When awakened during meditation, it is supposed to travel up the spine activating each chakra as it surges upward. When the kundalini force hits the crown chakra, the person experiences enlightenment or Self-realization. This mystical current results in the person knowing himself to be God. That is why kundalini is sometimes referred to as the divine energy. According to New Age proponents, all meditative methods involve energy and power, and the greater the power, the greater the experience. (FMSC, pp. 76-77)
Dr. Mark Hyman, one of the three doctors who ”designed” the “Daniel Challenge” for Saddleback , is another strong advocate for mystical meditation. In his book, TheUltramind Solution, Hyman emphasizes meditation, saying that it doesn’t matter what religion one has to benefit from it (p. 322). Dr. Hyman suggests that “Mindful meditation is a powerful well-researched tool, developed by Buddhists” (p. 384). On the front cover of The Ultramind Solution, sits an endorsement by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the third doctor who will be training Saddleback on health.
Anyone who watches daytime television, in particular Oprah, will know the name Dr. Oz, a highly renowned cardiovascular surgeon. It was Oprah who featured him on her show for five years, making him a household name, which eventually led to his own television show, one of the most popular shows on television.
Last February, Lighthouse Trails posted a piece titled “Dr. Oz Tells Millions of Americans: ‘Try Reiki!’” In January 2010, Dr. Oz brought a Reiki master onto his show to demonstrate Reiki and then ended the show saying, “try Reiki” as the #1 “Oz’s Order.” It would make sense that Dr. Oz would tell his viewers to try Reiki – his wife is a Reiki practitioner. One press release related:
Reiki Masters across America and the world had cause for celebration on January 6 when Dr. Mehmet Oz revealed his Ultimate Alternative Medicine Secrets for 2010 during his nationally broadcast afternoon talk show. He ranked Reiki #1. Dr. Oz said, “Reiki is one of my favorites, we’ve been using it for years in the Oz family, and we swear by it.”
As Lighthouse Trails has documented for years, Reiki is a type of “energy healing” that is based on the New Age chakra system and puts those practicing it into contact with the realm of familiar spirits. If this sounds far fetched, listen to what one Reiki master wrote in the Everything Reiki Book:
During the Reiki attunement process, the avenue that is opened within the body to allow Reiki to flow through also opens up the psychic communication centers. This is why many Reiki practitioners report having verbalized channeled communications with the spirit world. (cited in A Time of Departing, p. 97)
Recently, we posted a YouTube video that describes the spiritual consequences of practicing Reiki. The person doing the video told the story of one woman, who after practicing Reiki came into contact with 35 spirit guides, and she was unable to rid herself of them. They told her they would be with her forever. If you have not yet viewed this 10 minute video, it is imperative that you do. Reiki is a catalyst or channel, as stated earlier, into the spirit world. This is not a silly, nonsensical ritual with no meaning. This is serious stuff!
How serious? Consider this: A book titled The Instructionwritten by Ainslie MacLeod, is described by the publisher as the following:
Have you ever sensed that your life has a deeper, more meaningful purpose–but don’t know what it is? If so, you’re not alone. To help you and the millions like you, psychic Ainslie MacLeod’s spirit guides have given him a systematic approach to uncovering who you really are–and the life your soul has planned for you. They call it The Instruction. Now, for the first time, this unique teaching is offered as a step-by-step program for realizing personal fulfillment. The Instruction will take you through ten “doorways” to unveil the life plan your soul created before you were even born.
In the foreword written by MacLeod, he says the “purpose of the book is to understand the coming shift in consciousness that is poised to sweep the planet. This transformation will affect everyone of us in some way.” This book, which is given by spirit guides and lays out the basic foundation for the New Age impressed Dr. Oz so much that he wrote an endorsement for the front cover. He stated: “I recommend this book to those who seek greater spiritual well-being and a better understanding of their life’s purpose.” Dr. Oz’s endorsement is also on the front cover of MacLeod’s 2010 book, The Transformation: Healing Your Past Lives to Realize Your Soul’s Potential,where he exclaimed: “Ainslie MacLeod is at the frontier of exploration into the soul and its profound influence on our physical selves.”
Make no mistake about it – Reiki, meditation, tantric sex – these are very powerful mystical experiences that have the capability to delude and deceive those who are involved with it. While many of the health ideas these three doctors share in their books and DVDs are legitimate (exercise, vitamins, and good diet, etc.), these doctors firmly believe in meditation and want to make it widely accepted and embraced and have interwoven this belief into their programs. As Dr. Amen admitted himself, he wants to tell everyone he knows about meditation. Rick Warren and Saddleback are in danger as could be the millions who Rick Warren influences.
We urge all discerning believers to contact their own pastors and any other pastors or leaders they know to warn them about what is taking place in the name of wellness and fitness in the church. We urge you also to contact ministries who have, in one way or another, either through consent or silence, supported the “new” spirituality that is trying to enter the church and tell them where it leads. The wellness and fitness aspect of this is just another face of this whole movement that is impacting our entire culture.
In this plea, consider what Roger Oakland stated at the end of Faith Undone:
There are still pastors and churches dedicated to proclaiming the truth. Find out where they are and support them. If you are in a location where this does not seem to be possible, seek out materials that are available from solid Bible-based Christian ministries and hold Bible studies in your homes.
When Jesus returns, He will not find a utopian world filled with peace but one in shambles, unrest, violence, and war for having forsaken the Word of God, the true Gospel, and the One true God. Rather than being a time when He will praise the world for discovering its christ-consciousness, He will come as a Judge and powerful King (p. 230).
Let us hold fast to the truth, and in considering the fact that compromising our spiritual health and wellness is never the right avenue to physical wellness, remember the words Paul spoke to the Romans. He did not tell them to entertain spirit guides, practice mantra meditation, yoga, or Reiki. This was his instruction to believers:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12: 1-2
As important as physical health may be, we must remember that our bodies are only temporal. Yes, we should take care of them, but in the process we should not do as Esau did and sell out our spiritual heritage for a bowl of pottage.